Google vs. China: the Saga Continues

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Your iPhone, Browser, and More Can All Be Pwn'd

In an updated blog post, Google outlined their basic business strategy in China after the pullout and how apps such as Gmail and Google Docs will be affected.  While Google’s Evil Meter still shows most services intact for China, though reports say that specific search terms on Google.com.hk (where Google.cn redirects) are being filtered externally by the Chinese government.

Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land blasts Google for their heavy-handed PR, their reversal of policy, and other aspects of their dealings in China in recent weeks.  His negative attitude towards Google is catching on as many are seeing this latest action by Google not as a safety and retaliatory measure against the Chinese government for hacking Google services and systems, but as a grandiose bit of political grandstanding by the corporation whose policies just a month ago were to abide by China’s wishes and filter content for Chinese searches.

This grandstanding smacks of both hypocrisy and political spin on the part of Google, so it’s easy to see why this point of view is gaining ground amongst critics.

This probably hasn’t been helped by Google’s Sergey Brin calling for the U.S. government to intervene and call out the Chinese government for its censorship.  He didn’t waste any time pointing the finger at Microsoft either, which a lot of people are seeing as pure grand standing on Brin’s part as Google, in some eyes, is only a California-based version of Microsoft anyway.

However you look at it, though, it’s hard to understand why Google took a perfectly good business relationship with China, playing by Chinese rules, and then was surprised when China’s government decided to make it clear that the rules only apply to Google, not Beijing.  Laws are made by governments, not abided by them.  When Google responded with business threats, which were justified, the Chinese (of course) blew them off.  Now, suddenly, Google wants to turn this into a political battle and make it a moral issue rather than a pure business one. This sudden white hat position of Google’s isn’t sitting well with some people.  It should be obvious why.


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